Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Free Turkey Day

The Pilot is a vegetarian. I am not. I will say that the longer The Pilot and I are together, the closer I get to becoming a full time vegetarian. Some would call me a flexitarian, which I blogged about previously. I was eating as a veggisauraus about 4-5 days a week and I think that is getting closer to 5-6 days a week. I honestly haven't changed much and I don't miss it at all. As I try to make smarter food choices for weight loss/fitness goals, I naturally gravitate to more veggie-centric options.

That brings me to Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to a day known for gluttony, I was seriously considering a vegetarian Thanksgiving. I mulled it over with The Pilot, who was obviously supportive but ultimately, the choice was mine. In talking it out with him, I realized that I don't really have a strong love of turkey. It's ok, but if I'm going to start humming over my food, it's not going to be for turkey (but please bring on the deviled eggs and all pumpkin products). If I don't really love it, then why am I eating it? That's what it took and I went turkey free this year. I didn't go vegan for the holiday but for two days, it was completely vegetarian.

First we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of The Pilot's family. I skipped the animal products and did my best to not go overboard on the other items. It was hard when deviled eggs and a pumpkin roll were on the table. Oh, and a sweet potato casserole. I was humming for sure.

Next up was the day after Thanksgiving with my family. My mom was a sweetheart and went to the effort to try vegetable broth based gravy and stuffing as well as gelatin-free cranberry salad. She still had her traditional gravy, stuffing and cranberry salad, but I stuck with The Pilot-friendly options and skipped the turkey. And did I miss it? Not at all. Again, I was too busy humming over the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin pie.

I'm going to back up with the gelatin-free cranberry salad. This brought up some questions at both households as to why the cranberry salad wasn't vegetarian. My mom's recipe uses Jell-O, which contains gelatin. Gelatin is most definitely NOT vegetarian: a substance derived from the collagen inside animal skin and bones. If you never want to eat Jell-O or marshmallows again, just read more about how gelatin is produced. My parents were on a mission to see if the cranberry salad could be made using something other than Jell-O. A very helpful employee at Whole Foods led them to agar, a seaweed based product that can be gelatinous. Score! Having tried both recipes, I couldn't really tell the difference. The Pilot and I enjoyed our vegetarian Thanksgiving, our families learned a little more than they may have wanted about gelatin and we somewhat navigated explaining to a 7-year old why Uncle Pilot had special bowls of food.

Anyways, I think this successful couple of days means I will be going vegetarian for future Thanksgivings. As for other holidays and going full-time vegetarian? I'm not sure. I'm still open to it but I'm not there yet. I just know that I'm very thankful for my veggiesauraus husband for opening my eyes to new ideas and food! :)


  1. How did I not know this about you? Or did I and I forgot. So cool! My vegetarian journey started out very slowly too. I started by eating less until I eventually didn't want it anymore. I make some exceptions sometimes. Like when things are made with beef or chicken broth. otherwise there would be nothing for me to eat at sometimes. My parents are very accommodating but my in-laws.... not so much. They don't understand that beef broth and cream of chicken is not vegetarian friendly.

    Have you ever had Tofurkey or Tofu Turkey? On my goodness! My mother made one last year (I got to have have leftovers!) and it was amazing!

    Gelatin.. yeah crazy. If you have yogurt look at the ingredients.... most of the time gelatin is found in there.

    Vegetarianism made me find my love for cooking. I used to be a bad cook and I used to hate it.

  2. Turkey is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving...I could skip everything else as long as I had turkey, I was completely vegetarian for about 3 months this year, but didn't end up sticking with it because I think I wasn't totally ready for it. I did love the way I felt and how much healthier I ate overall. It's great to keep trying new things.

  3. I remember when I was a full-on vegetarian a few years ago, the smell of turkey actually made me nauseous, and I was a major carnivore before that. I am slowly getting back into the veg lifestyle, but reading about how you integrate your lifestyle with the pilot is so fun to read. I am considering dating a guy who shirks the thought of eating veg, mostly because he's an extremely picky eater. This post gives me small hope. :-)